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William M. Brish Library - Hagerstown Community College: Reference Resources

Reference Resources

Using Reference Resources

Need to get an overview of a topic or find specific factual information? Reference resources can be a great place to start!

Library reference sources have reputable authors and are credible publications. However, it's important to keep in mind that while these sources can be good for background research for college research papers, they should generally not be used as a main source.

They can give you a good overview of a topic and suggest additional keywords or sources to explore, but for a college research paper most instructors will expect a primary (first-hand) or secondary (second-hand) source. Most reference works are considered tertiary (third-hand) sources because they summarize what primary and secondary sources have written.

student conducting research

Reference Materials at HCC

Row of encyclopedias

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